In its April update, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) recognised that this is a really challenging time for many rural businesses.
The RPA has published a five-year strategy which sets out our main objectives in delivering agricultural transition, meeting both customer expectations and policy needs, delivering environmental outcomes through a quality service and being an exemplar of the Civil Service’s Operational Delivery Profession working in practice.
The RPA said: “We continued to deliver a range of services to rural businesses and developed and implemented new schemes and services. We launched the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot with over 2,500 expressions of interest and more than 900 applicants.
“RPA has continued to issue payments to farming and rural businesses through schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES). Over 100,000 eligible 2021 claims worth £1.8 billion were paid – 92% by the end of December (2020: 89.5%). This represented 98.3% of BPS, 62.2% of CS revenue claims, and 64.6% of ES eligible claims.”
RPA said it also received over 5,600 CS Capital grant claims worth £66.8 million, which had helped to establish and maintain woodland and hedges, as well as much more.
RPA added: “We introduced a new approach for rural business that were due more than one 2021 scheme payment (combinations of BPS, CS, and ES). We wanted rural businesses to receive at least one payment in December, and over 98% did.”